STEWART LEE LIVE
I got to The Lowry a lot later than initially planned, for reasons too frighteningly world altering to go into. I had also been, momentarily, deprived of the powers of telephonic communication. I was looking for a couple of friends so had to WALK AROUND LOOKING for them; future generations will not even know what I am talking about when they read this blog in school (Hi future kids!) in a hundred years. “What is walking around looking for someone, Nongenderspecific Robot Teacher?” they will ask. The nongenederspecific robot will tell them that in the ancient days people weren’t born with an iPhone in their brains and weren’t constantly able to access wifi to text someone for their location. The children will accept this, but one child will ask NRT what love is and it will explode – ultimately leading to the reintroduction of gender specific robot teachers, that have the answer to what love is programmed in their RAM.
My search took me away from the main bar to Lyric one. Here, besides no-one I was looking for, was a bar with just one person waiting to be served. A quick decision was made to get a drink. So, we stood behind the person getting served. At a bar, normally I would stand at the side of the person being served if there was space. But, I went for the tried and tested ‘stand in a queue in a theatre bar’ style of getting served at a bar. Like much human behaviour the action of one person was soon being replicated and a woman stood behind us, the hive mind of queuing to get a drink was off and running. (I’m getting to the point of this.)
Then with the initial person still being served, me and MJEA behind them and one woman behind us (if you’re struggling to picture this ‘queue’ imagine the start of a 100-metre dash, the runners are all side-by-side aren’t they? Well imagine those sprinters¹ have stood up and all turned 90 degrees to face the starter. Those sprinters are now in the same kind of queue I was in – with the bar being the starter. I hope that helped). Then a man approached this queue of people and asked the woman behind us if this was the ‘nominal queue’.
What is with people? NOMINAL? It’s a queue mate – at the moment THE fucking queue. It’s the queue because there is no other queue. If there were several queues of people formed after this one, but this was still accepted as the proper queue BUT the bar staff were serving the people in the other queues then it might to ask if this was the nominal queue. But it wasn’t. I’ve been angry about his desperate need to use the word nominal for a few hours now and it has just occurred to me that he might not have meant the ‘in name only’ sense of nominal but the ‘small’ sense of nominal. If so, then I am slightly less annoyed at him but, still, I think he was being pretentious; what counts as a queue that can’t be described as nominal in his world? There were FOUR people in the queue in the bar of a theatre with, at the time, very few people were in it. What does he want? A THOUSAND people? And he didn’t mean that sense anyway, he didn’t mean the correct but pretentious use: he meant the pretentious and wrong use of it. What a fucking idiot.
Stewart Lee is the consummate stand-up comedian for my money, certainly the best British one². I fucking love him. As much love as he gets on stuff like The Guardian -and everywhere else on the internet as one brilliant section revealed: he does look like an Eskimo doesn’t he? – he does get a lot of shit for labouring a point too much and ignoring the main thing he has said he will talk about as, instead, on a whim he digresses on about stuff which his audience, or his perceived audience, don’t care about.
I use the phrase perceived audience as a lot of his stuff tonight was about his step up to a larger audience for his live work thanks to two series of his TV show and winning some British Comedy Awards. Given that he played two shows at The Lyric theatre compared to two at The Quays, as he has at his last couple of Lowry visits, it would seem he has a point. Really, though, Lee has been doing the dividing the audience into clued up and not getting it for a few years,now. This was just a new way of doing it, a funnier way – allowing him to simultaneously alienate himself from these new followers while explaining his jokes/style/structure to them by referring to them throughout. At least I think I was doing that duality thing, maybe he just thinks the new people at his shows are fuckwits.
It was a very funny show, the first half at least – and maybe all of it in retrospect – was his most accessible material in his recent tours. I wont go into the ins and outs because I don’t want to ruin the TV show/live DVD you should watch/buy. I will say one thing, so ruining one part, when he described his ongoing life and work as slowly rotting away at his own obituary was my favourite line of anything I have seen this year: including any dialogue of Julian Fellowe’s Titanic.
¹If you were picturing some large black men then well done: you’re a sexist racist. It was actually a mixed field of men and women of various races and sexualities. If you weren’t picturing large black men then what are you basing it on? The Men’s 100 metre final is the only sprint race anyone cares about and gets news coverage and for the last 20 years these have been contested almost entirely by black athletes: who were you trying to kid by picturing anything else?
²Chris Rock stands as the best I have seen live though I am seeing Jerry Seinfeld in a few weeks so…yeah…get on the edge of your seat for what I think of him.